August 5, 2022

Adding suspense to your drop with NFT reveals

Some NFT drops are straightforward: what you click is what you get. But NFT reveals make things a little bit more interesting…

Part of the appeal of NFTs comes from their flexibility and the range of additional built-in features. If you’ve spent any time in the NFT space, you’re probably familiar with royalty-payment functionality, which allows NFT creators to receive a portion of subsequent resales of their work, or use cases where NFT holders receive additional benefits and/or use their NFTs to gain access to exclusive events or websites.

But another fascinating feature of NFTs is how they enable gamified primary sales experiences. Instead of just seeing something you like and buying it, NFTs can be minted (created) and sold in different ways to create thrilling NFT drops where users are on the edge of their seats with anticipation about whether they might get a super rare and valuable NFT from your collection.

There are two main ways of gamifying NFT drops:

  1. Randomized sales: buyers receive a random NFT minted from the collection each time they click “mint.”
  2. NFT reveals: buyers receive a random NFT from your collection when they click “mint,” but don’t even know which one they’ve received until some time after the drop.

Randomized NFT minting turns drops into games of luck, and hiding the end product for a set period of time transforms NFT purchases from simple transactions into suspenseful and engaging experiences for users. 

Vaults within vaults within vaults…

Nike held a particularly successful NFT reveal with their RTFKT MNLTH airdrop: holders of a previous NFT were sent an MNLTH “digital box,” the contents of which were hidden. After months of building hype and anticipation, the sneaker manufacturer revealed the contents of the vaults (a pair of digital Nike Dunks, a skin vial, and a second MNLTH vault) and launched their CryptoKicks digital fashion line. The reveal was followed by a series of quests (puzzles) for users to solve, along with the next layer of mystery surrounding the contents of the second vaults.

The NFT reveal format generated significantly more interest and speculation leading up to their product launch, and can be similarly leveraged by any brand to add an additional dimension of suspense and online engagement.

How NFT reveals work

NFTs are essentially tokens that represent metadata (images, audio files, video files, etc.). The metadata is connected to the tokens by a link within the NFT smart contract (the program on the blockchain used to create the NFTs) or within the individual NFTs themselves.

In a normal NFT drop, there is typically a metadata link embedded within the smart contract. This link points to a folder of the metadata files, organized by “token ID” (i.e. the unique number associated with each individual token). Within the folder, each token ID has a specific metadata file associated with, and within this file there is a link  that points to the final image. In addition, each token can also have attributes (or “traits”). For example, for an NFT collection consisting of pictures of characters, these traits could be “hair color,” “eye color,” “piercings,” “nose,” etc.

In an NFT reveal, the link embedded within the smart contract can be changed, so that when the tokens are minted, users only see the “placeholder” metadata. In the case of the Nike MNLTH drop, this metadata just showed an image of a digital vault for all users. Later, this link is changed to the “final” metadata link, which contains a list that points to the actual metadata of the collection.

Here’s how the process works in a bit more detail:

  1. The NFT collection is launched. At this point, the link within the smart contract points to the placeholder metadata (e.g. in the case of the Nike MNLTH launch, an image of a digital vault). However, this is just a temporary link, and will later be replaced with a link to the final metadata.
  2. Next, the final metadata is uploaded in a way that it can remain private until the collection is revealed. In order to do so, the final metadata files are hashed and this hash is published. At this point, the contents of the final list (token IDs, images, traits, etc.) cannot be viewed. Publishing the final hash just allows users to verify that the final list of metadata has been created, and when the reveal happens, they can check back to make sure it is the same link as that which was published initially. This ensures that nothing is changed and tampered with after the NFTs have been minted, but before their metadata has been revealed.
  3. The placeholder link is replaced with the final link. Now, all of the NFTs (when refreshed on OpenSea or any other marketplace) will show the final metadata and traits connected to them. Users can now see what their newly acquired NFTs are, and the big reveal is complete! Also, everyone can check the authenticity of the final metadata using the original provenance (placeholder metadata) hash that was published initially.
For more on the awesome things you can do with your own smart contract, check out our article on the topic

How to create an NFT reveal

If this post has gotten your creative juices flowing and you’ve got some ideas for how to create a thrilling and engaging NFT drop for your users, you’re probably wondering how to get started. If you’re already a smart contract developer, you can probably figure out how to implement it on your own. If you’re not, it would be a long and difficult road before you’d be able to launch your own NFT reveal drop.

But don’t worry, that’s why Artiffine is here. We are a creative studio that can help you with everything from ideation and community building to smart contract development, UX/UI coding, graphic design, and website launch. 

NFT reveals are just one of a multitude of engaging NFT features we can implement (including gas-optimized smart contracts, NFT licenses, and web3 wallet integrations) so if you’d like to share your NFT vision with the world, get in touch, and we’d love to help you on your journey.

August 5, 2022

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